Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Scared to death of considering antidepressants

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Joe K:
Hey Wiser,

I have suffered with severe depression and anxiety for almost three decades and John is right, finding the right drugs for you will be a process.  But it will be a process that will well be worth your effort.  I take 14 various drugs and so when I want to explore drug options, I will only see a psychiatrist to have my meds adjusted.  I also find that most doctors, especially when you see a specialist like a psychiatrist, will honor that doctors decision and you always want to review any proposed new drugs with your HIV doctor.  But they are not trained in mental health and you many need some combination of drugs to get the relief that is right for you.

For myself, I take Wellbutrin for general depression, Citalopram for anxiety, Ridlin because the first two drugs exhaust me and at night I take Trazadone which lets me sleep through the night.  Granted that's a lot of drugs, but I have a lot of mental health issues and so it takes what it takes to treat it.  The best part of all of these drugs is that have few side effects and even though the Trazadone helps me to sleep, I do not wake up groggy like I would if I used a sleeping pill.

Depending upon your issues, you may want to reconsider therapy, but only after you have started any drugs and been on them for at least 4 weeks, because that is how long it generally takes for your brains chemicals to stabilize, but until your chemicals are stabilized, therapy is generally considered to be much less effective.

My whole point is work with the professionals to get the help you need.  If one drug works, then great, if you need more, at least give it a month to see if you feel better, because the one thing about mental health issues, especially depression, is that once the meds start to work, you will wake up one day and feel better.  The next day you will feel even better and that may continue for a bit.  Once you have adjusted you will be able to see just how affected you were by depression or whatever.  Believe me when I tell you that this is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

Also, I have a Blog on the site and have written a number of entries on my battle with mental health, you may find some of it informative.  At the very least is will confirm to you that you are not going crazy and there is help for the asking.

Thanks to all of you for the advice and encouragement. I got through Thanksgiving rather well and bought a Christmas tree for the first time in years and am enjoying the smell. I really am still in the "grin and bear it" phase, but things have gone from catastrophic to frustrating and annoying. I am continuing the research on the antidepressants and the input from you all has been excellent. "Scared to death" has moved to anxious and procrastinating so that is some growth.

From scared to death to anxious and procrastinating is progress   :)

For me antidepressants, and mood-stabilizers, and even - as scary as it sounds - sometimes antipsychotics, have been a long and hassled road of drug experimentation on top of all the AIDS meds.  But with time, and a good psychiatrist, the long hassling road has more than paid off.  I forget that and quit psychmeds sometimes, and then re-remember how much I have to be grateful for.  But it took a long time, and a lot of patience to find what worked for me.  I wish you the best.   

I totally know how you feel.  I've been dealing with anxiety and depression since August (3 months after diagnosis).
I tried Celexa but it made me too agitated so i swore off all anti-di's. Anyway, I'm pretty much getting worse every week and dropping weight, plus I'm so sick of feeling this way, so i think I'm going to try Remeron, which was prescribed to me weeks ago.  I can't help but predict the worst and think other people's negative experiences on anti-d's will happen to me.  Therapy has helped my anxiety greatly but my depression is here to stay.  So frustrating.  Good luck with everything and hopefully it all works out. - mike


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